What’s The Big Deal With Kendrick’s “Humble” Video? Misogyny? Not Even Close

 Kendrick’s “Humble” Video Is A Positive Step Towards Acceptance & Representation of Various Body Types and Body Insecurities, That Should be Praised

Kendrick Lamar essentially broke the internet on Thursday night with the release of the new single, “Humble”, from his upcoming fourth album.  Many of his fans, particularly women, were very disappointed in some of the lyrics from the song and its now very controversial music video.

The lyrics that didn’t sit too well with the feminist population, according to the social media backlash include:

“I am so fucking sick and tired of the Photoshop/
Show me something natural like afro on Richard Pryor/
Show me something natural like ass with some stretch marks/
Still will take you down right on your mama’s couch with polo socks…”

 

Many felt as though Kendrick’s lyrics weren’t uplifting Black women and that instead, he was admonishing Black women who dared not look natural.  They felt as though he was objectifying women based on his own personal interests and sexual fantasies.

All very valid arguments, but let’s consider for one split second that K.Dot isn’t a misogynist and the message in this video was actually delivered with sincerely positive intent.

 

We are in an era much different from others.  We are in an era where standards are slowly, but steadily being redefined and expanding to incorporate different skin tones, body types, hair consistencies, etc. Black women are learning to love themselves and the features they were for so long accustomed to hating and trying to hide. However, even though this love is now prevalent and spreading on social media, most music videos still don’t portray all these varieties.

 

If you go on Tumblr and even on Twitter, women are constantly talking about the lack of diversity and authenticity in artists’ music videos, how the bodies of women are always photoshopped, that we mostly only see women of specific skin tones and body types, and that we don’t get enough natural looking women. I believe Kendrick Lamar did his best to remain relevant with our generation’s current social concerns. He read up and delivered what he believed we wanted to see, a natural girl with curly hair, without make-up and a thick dark skin woman with visible stretch marks. It’s evident that he didn’t consider that this praise of one type of look for Black women would be insulting to women that wear makeup and weaves (for various, personal reasons).

 

I also believe that Kendrick’s Humble video was a big positive step towards the acceptance and representation of various body types and body insecurities that many women, including myself have. Furthermore, when has a personal preference for specific physical attributes been a sign of misogyny? Nobody was mad when Drake was rappin’ about “Sweatpants, chillin’ with no makeup on, that’s when you’re the prettiest“. On the contrary, that was the anthem.
So what’s wrong with Kendrick not only liking his women natural but also praising them and letting them know that there isn’t anything wrong with being natural? There are some women, including myself, that don’t believe their natural state is beautiful enough and the message that I got from this video was not only that “natural women are beautiful”, but also “don’t be afraid to be natural because you thinks it makes you ugly.”

 

Furthermore, this is the entertainment business, the music industry. You can’t expect Kendrick to accomplish something your simple boyfriends can’t even accomplish! Ladies, you can’t expect one man to fully comprehend what each of us could be internally and emotionally going through in terms of our physical appearance.  He’s not a woman, he can only speak to us from a man’s point of view. Do we as woman ever even stop to consider what our men could be emotionally experiencing in terms of their physical appearances and egos? Right.
Personally, for the little representation that was there, I was impressed. I was hollering when I saw Chocolate with the tiger marks! Kendrick Lamar is doing what most artists haven’t even stopped and considered doing yet. Of course, a woman’s body isn’t the only aspect of her identity and shouldn’t be the only thing worth mentioning and rapping about, but Kendrick’s Humble video already had so many layers to it, and a bigger general message about “humility”. I don’t think Kendrick could have touched base on every aspect that makes the Black woman versatile, feel accomplished and confident.  But I’m thankful that he tried.

 

Many people who watched Kendrick’s Humble video seem to agree with me as well:

Some people even made valid points:

What are your thoughts on Kendrick’s Humble video?


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Michèle Eyenga

West African, based in New York, currently working towards a Bachelors in International Studies and Communications at Penn State University. Some of my interests and hobbies include: creative writing, blogging, traveling and learning about different societies and cultures, video and other forms of content producing, working out here and there and last but definitely not least, throwing down in the kitchen. I aspire to one day be able to intermingle my passion and interest in media, in social & human dynamics with my knowledge about politics and global phenomenons & issues by giving a voice to the most unheard population in any and every nation of the world, the youth.

Michèle Eyenga has 2 posts and counting. See all posts by Michèle Eyenga

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